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Coronavirus Infection Prevention: What is Social Distancing and How Can I Do It?


March 15, 2020 12:36:26

As coronavirus cases continue to increase in Australia, health authorities advise Australians to practice social distances as much as possible to limit transmission.

Key points:

  • If you have returned from non-high risk countries, you should practice social distance
  • This means, if possible, staying 1.5 meters away from other people
  • Spending time indoors such as family gatherings or bars is not encouraged

In the Chinese province of Hubei, where the coronavirus epidemic began, health authorities quickly banned large gatherings and introduced other social distancing measures, which saw a much lower infection rate than in places like Iran and Italy – who did not.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced late Saturday that anyone entering New Zealand would have to isolate himself for two weeks.

Despite its effectiveness, if practiced universally, health authorities said they understood that the practice of social distancing at all times is a difficult task, especially if you have to work, study or travel.

But what does social distance actually mean – and can you still have a beer in the pub while you do it?

Who needs to distance themselves from society?

If you have recently traveled to a non-high risk country, you should practice social exclusion as much as possible for two weeks on your return.

Your coronavirus questions answered:

You should also monitor the symptoms of coronavirus, which include sore throat, fever and chills.

However, if you have traveled from a high-risk country such as China, Iran, Italy or South Korea, social distancing is not enough.

It is necessary to self-isolate for two weeks after the return and, if symptoms of the virus occur, call your doctor or health center on 1800 022 222.

How can I distance myself from society?

While practicing social distance, NSW Health says that you can still go to work or school and use public transportation to get around.

But you should aim to stay 1.5 meters away from other people while keeping a social distance – no small feat if you are on a full bus or train.

This is why the health authorities have admitted that it cannot be practiced in all situations, although the effectiveness would be to stem the flow of cases.

It is not necessary to live on canned products for the duration of the social distancing: the trips to the grocery store are fine, as long as it keeps you away from other buyers and makes a quick trip.

The World Health Organization says that it is not necessary to wear a mask if symptoms do not occur.

Can I go out with friends or my partner while distancing myself from social media?

People who practice social removal should avoid closed areas such as family reunions, weddings or even drinks in the pub with your friends.

You should also avoid physical interaction, including shaking hands, hugging or kissing, as the virus can spread through droplets from close interaction between people.

It might be a good time to take a break from Tinder, as dating usually involves almost all of the above.

Australian medical chief executive Brendan Murphy said that as the number of cases increases, the government is likely to increase the requirements for social removal.

For now, Murphy said “going to the gym is fine, but everyone has to practice excellent hygiene.”

Health authorities say it is essential not to interact with vulnerable people, including the elderly or those with compromised immune systems. If you are wondering, just ask politely.

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First published

March 15, 2020 10:35:29


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